What if someone lost all your money? Could you forgive that person?
This is the remarkable story of two men who did forgive and it led them to success beyond their wildest dreams.
Chinese immigrants John Tu and David Sun are long-time business partners who through hard work built a successful business in Orange County, CA. In 1986, they became rich and attained the “American Dream” when they sold their firm for $5 million to a larger company.
Four partners split the $5 million. Tu and Sun were financially unsophisticated and a long-time friend of Sun’s, a stock broker, offered to manage their share of the money.
Tu said, “We trusted him but said please be conservative. [He] started investing… and the first six months, it went well. Then [he] wanted to do better for us. He said, ‘There are more exciting things you should do.’
“We said, ‘Please remember, we can’t afford to lose this [money].’ He said, ‘Yes.’
“October 19th, 1987, Black Monday, we found out everything is collapsing [on Wall Street]. We thought we had a stop-loss limit of $50,000.
“We tried to reach [him]. He was not anywhere to be found. We said, ‘Let’s drive to his home.’ [When they got there], he was so upset. He looked like a broken person. We knew it would be bad. He kept apologizing. We lost every single dollar we had plus a million dollars each.”
How could Tu and Sun lose more than they invested? This stock broker had been speculating on commodities futures, which is highly risky. He compounded that risk by borrowing heavily in his clients’ names and buying even more futures.
When the market collapsed, he lost all of their money and they were seemingly obligated to pay off all the money he had borrowed in their names without their knowledge.
What would you do? Because of this person, all of your money is gone and you’re deeply in debt. Would you panic? Would you sue?
Not Tu and Sun. They actually felt sorry for this stock broker. As Tu said, “He was inexperienced and didn’t know what he was doing.” They also felt he’d lost his family’s money, his other friends’ and clients’ money and that his reputation was destroyed.
So they forgave him! They let it go and moved on. Their toughest task was telling their families what happened and assuring them they wouldn’t lose their homes and be put out on the street.
Rather than wallow in misery, they mediated a settlement with the lender for a tiny fraction of the money the stock broker had borrowed in their names. It would be paid when they again had some money.
Broke, the partners desperately needed a new business venture. They quickly found one.
They designed a computer memory product that was soon very much in demand. But they had no money to produce it. They told this to their customers who then paid cash up front for their orders, thus financing Tu’s and Sun’s new company.
This is how Kingston Technology Company was started. Today, this Fountain Valley, CA firm is a tremendous success with $3 billion in annual sales and 3,000 employees worldwide.
Tu said, “If this [financial] disaster had never happened, Kingston would never have happened because we were so comfortable with what we had. Even at the end of your rope, you should never give up hope. Keep your dream alive.
“When disaster strikes, there’s a reason why it’s happening and you may not know it at the time. After the disaster [it] will turn into opportunity.”
Success Tip of the Week: As John Tu and David Sun demonstrated, there is tremendous energy we can apply to accomplish meaningful things in our lives, or we can waste much of it unhappily trying to get even with others. The first approach will likely serve us far better than the latter one.
EditorsNote: Thank you to reader Ariel Feir for calling this story to my attention.
In the next KazanToday: Powerful secrets to success from a little shopkeeper with a big heart.